Illustrating the 6 Steps & Showing How to Use Insights Into Your Competition’s SEO
Last time we discussed how to spy on your competitors by creating a competitive SEO analysis. We provided 6 steps to help you learn the process so you can apply competitors’ strategies for your own success. Now we’ll walk you through the 6 steps as we give an inside look at how to create your analysis.
We’ve chosen as our subject a client from the hospitality industry, and their primary key phrase is highly competitive: Gatlinburg cabins. Gatlinburg, TN, is a much-beloved destination and there are many cabin rental companies vying for coveted Google real estate. Let’s go through each of our 6 steps and you can see how we approached each one.
As you go through your analysis remember to list the information you uncover in your Excel or Google sheet template that we discussed last time. You can create a master template with tabs for categories of information, then copy it for each competitor you analyze. When you are creating these analyses, it’s a good idea to look at several competitors; 4-6 will be sufficient. Start with a few and you will soon have the process down.
1) Key phrase research with attention to long-tail key phrases. We know the main key phrase we want our client to be found for (Gatlinburg cabins), and now we’re looking at competitors to see what they are optimizing for. Here is a list of the phrases we found one Gatlinburg cabin company focusing on:
As you can see, we’ve circled a few of the phrases. While these don’t have high search volume, they represent very focused phrases that signal buying intent. These are phrases we want to cut and paste into our own key phrase list and find ways to work these into our blog content, our HTML code and page copy. Others that are searched more, and fall into this category, are ‘luxury gatlinburg cabins,’ ‘secluded gatlinburg cabins’ and ‘affordable gatlinburg cabins’.
2) Reviewing the competitor’s website. Upon reviewing the site, we saw that their blog offers excellent photography. We note that it is much better than the photography on our client’s blog, so we decide we will need to step up our campaign with photography as good, or better, than this competitor.
3) Checking the competitor’s backlink profile. We find that the competitor actually doesn’t have that many good links; but we did find two local directories that link to them, that we’d like to submit our Gatlinburg customer to. We also discovered by comparing our client’s link profile to the competitor’s, that our competition makes better use of using long-tail key phrases in some of their links. We will adopt that strategy for our client. So that was a worthwhile review.
4) Check the competitor’s paid search keywords. This competitor has a big paid search campaign. Tools like SEMRush and SpyFu can help with this review. We found 25 key phrases we believe will be useful for us to target with organic search. And there’s a gem we found that we really must have for our client!
This phrase actually doesn’t have the word ‘cabin’ in it at all. It is a phrase, though, that lots of searchers query when they are traveling to the area. It is: ‘things to do in Gatlinburg.’ It’s a great phrase – it’s searched nearly 10,000 times per month on Google! This is definitely a phrase we want to work into our content!
5) Review the competitor’s local SEO. The competitor has many more Google Reviews than our client has. Even though we have received 30 reviews so far, we will step up our efforts to get Google Reviews, so we can do better against this competitor. We decide to print a ‘please review us on Google’ message on the client’s marketing materials, including offline items such as business cards and brochures.
6) Check the competitor’s social media presence. Here we have the competitor beat on Twitter – our client’s Twitter feed is up to date and engaging. The competitor does have a more mature Pinterest presence, and we note how they have created a board that links to their blog. We decide that that is a great idea, and we will make a similar board for our client.
Extra step: If you want to go the extra mile, we recommend reviewing the competitor’s mobile presence, as well. How does it stack up with yours, (or if you’re an agency, your client’s)? In the case of a hospitality client, having a great mobile website is vital, as many people search for lodging and travel information using their phone. Plus, it is a good idea to review if the competitor offers an app, and what functionality it provides. We know in this instance, that several of the big players in the Gatlinburg travel market offer apps that make booking cabins a seamless experience.
There! This is a mini analysis, but you get the idea. The competitor won’t necessarily be superior in every category, but you can often uncover gems to add to your campaign. It’s a great way to fight back online!
Need help analyzing your competitors’ SEO? Engine-ius Marketing offers over 15 years of experience – we can do it for you, and you can reap the rewards! Contact us today!